Q. Three weeks after a shingles attack, I was suffering excruciating nerve pain across the right side of my scalp. One morning at 3 a.m., I searched for websites that might offer alternative remedies. At PeoplesPharmacy.com, I discovered several people recommended applying amber Listerine mouthwash.
I went to the bathroom, soaked my washcloth in Listerine and rubbed it gently into my scalp. Within three minutes, I felt relief, and for the first time in weeks, I slept with the right side of my head on the pillow. It was wonderful to feel pain-free, even for a few hours.
Antiviral drugs such as acyclovir or valaciclovir can speed healing if taken at the first sign of shingles (painful rash or blisters on one side of the body).
Some readers report temporary relief with topical Listerine, and others say oral L-lysine aids recovery. For those wishing to avoid shingles, a shingles vaccine (Zostavax) is available.
Meningitis fear from steroid
Q. Eight weeks ago, I was given a steroid shot in my right hip. For weeks, I had severe pain in the back of my head, my vision was blurry, and my whole body hurt. I am back to normal, but now I am worried I might get meningitis. What should I do?
Contact your doctor immediately to find out whether the shot you received came from a contaminated batch. Although the likelihood of meningitis is low because the shot was not into your spine, there have been some other complications when tainted steroid was injected into joints.
Diet lowers blood pressure
Q. I have high blood pressure and gout flare-ups. I’ve heard the DASH diet could help.
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension – a diet rich in vegetables and fruits and low in fat and meat. It lowers blood pressure nearly as well as medication, and also helps reduce uric acid (Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, December 2010).
Write to Joe and Terry Graedon at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.
Their newest book is “Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them.”